Sweet beverages such as sodas and sports drinks account for a third of the added sugar consumption of adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With an eye on tooth decay as well as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, the CDC has mapped out who consumes the most.
The 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System assessed sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption among adults in 23 states and the District of Columbia. According to the survey, 30.1% of adults have more than one SSB each day, ranging from 18.0% in Vermont and 22.3% in Minnesota to 45.5% in Louisiana and 47.5% in Mississippi.
This SSB intake was most common among 18- to 24-year-olds at 43.3%, men at 34.1%, African Americans at 39.9%, the unemployed at 34.4%, and adults with less than a high school education at 42.4%. The lowest rates were reported by those 55 and older at 19.1%, non-Hispanics of other races at 21.2%, the retired at 18.0%, and college graduates at 15.5%.
These figures are lower than those reported by the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, where 50.6% of adults in the United States reported consuming at least one SSB each day. The CDC notes that the difference may be due to survey methods and subjects, and not necessarily due to a trend of decreased consumption.
The researchers also note that the higher intakes in southern states could be due to variations in beverage retail environments, including access and availability, cultural norms, and advertising. Adults with less knowledge about the adverse consequences of SSB intake might account for the greater consumption in some reported populations as well.
The CDC concluded that education and awareness initiatives, increased access to and promotion of healthier alternatives through nutritional standards, counseling from and screenings by healthcare providers in addition to greater availability of drinking water in schools and public venues could be beneficial.
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